The Perils of Poseury – Preventing the pitfalls of pretense

The most widely accepted definitions of a poseur are typically descriptions of people pretending to be something they are not.  In the motorcycle world, the term is mostly used to describe anyone that dresses in the outfit, buys the bike, equipment, etc. but rides very little, if it all.  The problems come when the term is used to describe anyone that does not fit YOUR parameters of acceptance.  In other words, if poseur can be applied to anyone that does not meet a subjective standard, what good is the word?  So I propose a standard, or a way to measure Poseury.

motorcycle poseurs

To come up with a good, measurable standard, we must first have a measurement, a gauge, or scale.  After you determine what details to measure, and how to measure them, you can then match number to actual time spent riding a motorcycle, and you will get a ratio – 2 numbers that indicate the relationship between riding VS. appearing (to be riding).  I believe these details should be easy to measure, as both are done mostly in public, the appearance detail is only done in public (what good is it to appear in private?)

So with these two measurements we can come up with a ratio that is acceptable, say 1:2, or 1:5, So if you spend an hour per week riding on average, and less than 5 hours per week appearing to be a biker (of whatever variety) then you may pass the test of authenticity.  So a passing score is 0.20 or higher, anything 0.19 or lower would indicate a propensity for poseury.

So far, so good?

Well, now we can determine measurements.  What activities do we determine as important in legitimizing ourselves in the community?  What activities do we deem less valuable?  I will suggest a list, feel free to add to it with your own measurable items.


  • Riding – for your pleasure, not anyone else’s, go where you please, not where every one can see you
  • Commuting – back and forth to work, running errands, riding there because you can
  • Repairing – OK to spend time maintaining your bike to keep it on the road – not to be confused with bling/polish


  • Cruising – riding slowly in highly populated areas, for the sake of being seen, noticed
  • Blinging – everybody blings their bike somehow, just do it less than you ride
  • Polishing – good to have a clean bike, OK to look good, not OK to worship like a deity
  • Fronting – spending more time standing around “looking” like a biker than actually riding
  • Bike-nighting – OK to hang with the bros, but hanging and talking about bikes 5x more than you are riding,  ain’t.

biker-ken-sweaterOh sure, you want to argue about the activities above as being legit, but no need.  We all do a bit of each of the poseur-ish behaviors above, the key is to keep those behaviors in balance.  The balance comes from “legit” activities that actually reward you the most – riding.  Sure it is awesome to have a nice polished bike, with all the latest add-ons, flashing and spinning lights, but those things are very shallow, and un-rewarding.  Watching the sun set over the hills as you head back from an all-day ride is something you may never forget.

The more folks that look at the icing as the cake, the more missed opportunities we will have to enjoy the most wonderful part of this adventure – riding.  The more we lose focus on the important things, and point the spotlight on the superficial, the more we all have to lose.  It really is much easier to get dressed in your latest authentic duds, hop on the 2014 model BaddAss Screamer, modded to perfection, and ride the full 10 miles down to Hooters, than it is to ride 3-6 hours into the unknown, not knowing what the road has in store for you.  It is scary out there.  Don’t take chances.  Take the easy route.

Call me when you want to ride.

This post was written by

Don Redman – who has written posts on Bama Rides.

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